Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Curiouser and curiouser ...

The story about Sandy Berger "inadvertently" removing classified documents from their files during his preparations for his appearance before the 9/11 Commission is getting really weird.  Berger, Bill Clinton's former chief of the National Security Agency (NSA), claims that his souvenir taking was limited merely to his hand-written notes, along with  documents that he accidentally packed away in his binder. 
Perhaps this is indeed more innocent than it would appear, as former Republican strategist and one-time Clinton Adviser David Gergen asserts.  Perhaps.  But do you know anyone who "inadvertently" misplaces classified papers in their suit jacket, pants and socks? 
Neither do I.
Federal probe targets Clinton's national security adviser

"In a statement, Berger acknowledged that he removed his handwritten notes without first having them reviewed for sensitive information, and he also said he "inadvertently" removed some of the classified documents he had reviewed during his time at the Archives.  National Archives' policy requires that if someone reviews classified documents and wants to take their handwritten notes with them, those notes must first be cleared by archivists. 
In his statement, Berger said that "when I was informed by the Archives there were documents missing, I immediately returned everything I had, except for a few documents that apparently I had accidentally discarded."

"I deeply regret the sloppiness involved, but I had no intention of withholding documents from the commission, and to the contrary, to my knowledge, every document requested by the commission from the Clinton administration was produced," he said.

Fox News Online includes this critical tidbit:

"Berger and his lawyer said Monday night he knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket, pants and socks, and also inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio."
In the world I live in, that last statement is called Bulls$*t.  How do you knowingly place papers in your pants while inadvertently taking evidenciary papers in your portfolio?  It's clear to me that Berger wants to have it both ways, and with the precedent set for him by his former boss, I'm not surprised to see a reappearance of such bald-faced equivocation.

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